PUSHING YOURSELF TO THE LIMIT: How to Create a Vision of Balance
Our culture has been designed to push us to the limits. So much so, that we develop the mentality and belief of “work hard, play hard.” This leads to a habit of working ourselves to the bone, and putting our bodies in high stress “play” such as exercise, traveling, alcohol, etc. attempting to “balance” us out. That is not balance. Recall the yin/yang theory of Chinese Medicine. Yang is the high energy activities of life(hard work and play), and yin is the restorative, restful activities. High stress work and high intensity play are both strong Yang qualities of your life; they must be balanced by restful Yin, such as sleep, relaxation, meditation, breathing exercises, moving slowly, and single mindedness.
The body is designed to adapt and manage stress to create balance. Stress can be in the form of structural problems, chemical imbalances, emotional trauma, organ dysfunction, or low electrical flow throughout our bodies. Health has been defined as balance or homeostasis within all areas of our bodies...BUT that balance should come from healthy habits that produce GROWTH in the Yin and the Yang activities of life.
For example, working yourself to the point your BODY BREAKS DOWN, should not be “balanced” with staying up or out late and having unhealthy foods or drinks just to offset the feeling of stress from your work. To many of us, working so hard depletes us, and we want a reward at the end of the day, especially one that produces quick high amounts of dopamine...the feel good hormone. That is why the term, “I need a drink” comes into play:). Yes, work and life can be hard, but try to incorporate RESTORATION. If work/life it creates a shift in you to focus more on the high intensity Yang energy, and not enough on the restorative Yin activities it can create a breakdown in your ability to keep balance, THAT’S WHEN YOU STEP BACK AND RE-EVALUATE. Healthy work habits must be met with healthy play and rest.
If your work, schedule, family life, etc. begin to invade the restorative Yin time cycle, 7pm-5am, be cautious and aware of how much you PUSH yourself. The feelings of restlessness, anxiousness, racing thoughts, muscle twitches, indigestion, night sweats, high blood pressure, are all signs of high sympathetic nerve response or “fight or flight”.
Here are some suggestions that are proven by research to help you maintain neurological balance:
- Stop the work by 7pm
- Practice gratitude prayers THROUGHOUT your day
- 10 minutes of meditation or prayer at the 7-8pm time and right when you wake up
- Creating a VISION of your ideal day-those that include plenty of sleep, relaxation techniques, stomach breathing, daily walks to promote single mindedness
When you create a vision, you set neurological pathways in your brain to carry that specific signal. This will prompt your body to create and follow a physical path in life to achieve that VISION. Let me know how it goes!
Illustration by @lindsayblaze